Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news...

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1.Revealed: The PR Firm Behind the UK’s Net Zero Backlash-DeSmog

In recent weeks and months there’s been an increase in the number of campaigns and articles against Net-Zero. Now DeSmog has shone a light on a network of ‘PR agencies, right-wing politicians and think-tanks working to drum up opposition to climate policies as part of a broader drive to cut regulation and boost production of fossil fuels’.

The article reveals that Rebecca Ryan, managing director of Blue Sky Strategy, runs the “Defund the BBC” campaign, which wants to see the licence fee scrapped and deep cuts in the corporation’s budget. The campaign, launched in 2020, has accused the public broadcaster of bias, including in its climate coverage.

Ryan has also been listed as the media contact for a survey commissioned by Net Zero Watch (NZW) that suggested strong public support for an end to the UK’s ban on fracking.

You can find out more about how such PR companies are working behind the scenes to ramp up the backlash against net zero.

2. Labour can and must own ‘levelling up’, and define it on its own terms-LabourList

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi writes for LabourList on how the party must define the levelling up agenda on its own terms.

Writing about how the government has failed on a range of metrics when it comes to levelling up, Qureshi says that Labour must champion investment in infrastructure for places like her own constituency in Bolton.

Qureshi also argues for greater autonomy for local authorities and combined administrations to ‘reregulate their transport systems and incorporate them into one model’.

She adds: “Labour should be championing high streets in towns up and down the country. As we emerge from the pandemic, it is great to see Labour committed to levelling the playing field for bricks-and-mortar businesses with a reorganised taxation system. We should empower local authorities to lead the way in redesigning our public spaces to allow business and hospitality to flourish.”

3. The Windfall Tax Sham-Tribune

Richard Burgon writes for Tribune Magazine on why Rishi Sunak’s windfall tax is a drop in the ocean of the profits of oil giants and why a lot more must be done to stop letting super-rich corporations off the hook.

Burgon writes: “In a modest move that raises just £5 billion, Sunak has chosen to leave billions of undeserved profits in the hands of the very fossil-fuel firms that are driving not only the worst fall in living standards in decades but also the climate crisis.”

The MP for Leeds East writes that the Tory Government has taken £5 billion from the oil and gas giants’ super-profits but has let them keep an £8 billion windfall, arguing that the low level of Sunak’s Windfall Tax is part of a much longer pattern of letting the oil industry off the hook.

Instead, Burgon proposes that what we need to be fighting for is an energy system that is publicly-owned and run for the good of people and the planet, not for private profit.

4. Most landlords still using ‘no-fault evictions’ government vowed to ban-openDemocracy

More than two-thirds of landlords in England who kicked tenants out in the last year used no-fault evictions, with the government continuing to drag its feet over banning the practice, openDemocracy reports.

According to the findings of the latest English Private Landlord Survey, 43% of landlords admitted that they would ‘not let their properties to people who required home adaptations – even though discrimination on grounds of disability, whether direct or indirect, is illegal, and tenants with disabilities have the right to request adaptations to help them live more easily’.

Housing charity Shelter says losing a private tenancy is the second biggest cause of homelessness, and has called on the government to scrap section 21 evictions.

5. Half of young people say they will need to leave their local area to look for jobs-Morning Star

The Morning Star reports that half of young people could leave their local area to look for jobs because they feel there are not enough opportunities where they live.

The findings were based on research from a co-op survey of 10 to 25-year-olds which found that challenges they expect to face included financial pressures. The Co-op said its study found that children as young as 10 already think they will need to leave the area where they live to achieve what they want in life.

Over a third of those aged 16 to 25 also believe rising costs will make it harder for them to get a job, said the Co-op.

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